Monday, June 30, 2008

Where We Are Currently Living...

No, no, no…sorry for the tease. It is not our house…not yet. If you check back in a few days we may have some good news and a video regarding our new home.

Until then, here are a few pictures and a description about our temporary living conditions. We are living in a boarding house in a neighborhood of La Ceiba called El Sauce. The husband and wife who run the boarding house have divided their huge home to create several temporary living quarters.

Until we move into a rental house we will be living in our one bedroom, one bath studio. It is a very nice little place and we feel very fortunate to have been so welcomed.

Living Area

Kitchen Area


Saturday, June 28, 2008

The House Game

The last 72 hours has been largely dedicated to finding a home. We have driven past dozens of rental homes and walked through many of those. We think we are close to a decision, but, let me give you a little background and then you can play the House Game.

Our family is the first part of what we pray will be a large MTW team in La Ceiba, Honduras. As the first people on the ground we want to acquire a house that will accommodate small group studies, facilitate social events, house interns and short term mission teams, and be a home for us. Our budget for housing is $800 per month. We will likely be making a decision very soon.

Now that you have all the pertinent information…LET’S PLAY THE HOUSE GAME!!!

I will describe the top three houses and you leave a comment telling me which house you think we should select.

House #1
$1300/month ($500/month over budget)…walking distance to Madison’s school…6 bedrooms…5 baths…furnished…no backyard…big patio…2 stories…very centrally located…could house 24 short term missionaries with bunks.

House #2
$550/month…on the largest and busiest street in La Ceiba (good – you can easily get taxis, bad – noisy)…4 bedrooms (master is HUGE and would be used as a dorm room), plus a loft…3 ½ baths…1 of the bedrooms is a separate building in the back with its own bathroom…2 stories…unfurnished…could house 20 short term missionaries with bunks.

House #3
$500/month…most quiet neighborhood of the three…4 bedroom….2 baths…biggest yard…unfurnished…could house 16 short term missionaries with bunks…1 story…walking distance from the soccer stadium.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Traveling From San Jose, Costa Rica to La Ceiba, Honduras

Yesterday we landed in La Ceiba, Honduras. Here is a pictorial review of our travels from San Jose, Costa Rica to La Ceiba.

Here is Mike checking in at at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica at 4:30am. This is just seconds before this nice lady told us that even though our bags should cost us $1500 to send, she was only going to charge us $800. Rican coffee at 5am is a good thing.

Goodbye Costa Rica

The happy family on the flight from El Salvador to Honduras.

We saw dozens of these ugly shirts all over the airport in San Pedro Sula. We struck up a conversation with the unfortunate owners of the shirts and discovered they were going home to Virginia after a 10 day mission trip in Tegucagalpa, Honduras. We figured the message on the shirt was a bit ironic considering the place in our own transition at that moment.

Here is the 40 seater bird that took us the last distance into La Ceiba. You will notice there are no bags to be seen. That is because 17 of our 18 bags have yet to make it to La Ceiba.

Happy missionary. Here is Mike behind the wheel of our rental truck on the streets of La Ceiba. We have this for a few days. Keep your eyes on the road!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

End Of Our Time In Costa Rica – Thank You

Today is our last full day here in San Jose, Costa Rica. Tomorrow we board a flight to La Ceiba, Honduras. We have been here in Costa Rica for 10 months studying Spanish fulltime. Those of you who pray for us and support us financially have made all this possible. Team Honduras consists of over 140 groups or individuals supporting us financially and over 700 people praying for us regularly. All of you are a huge part of what we do and are equally responsible for all that occurs through our work.

We made this going away video as a way of thanking you for all of your support. If you have ever prayed for us or supported us in anyway this 5 minute video is for you. This video shows all that your support has been able to accomplish in the past 10 months. Thank you and enjoy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tooth and Moving

Yesterday, Madison lost her THIRD tooth while in Costa Rica! The "Tooth Mouse" came to visit (there is no tooth fairy here - just a mouse). If I counted correctly, she has only 2 more baby teeth to come out. She still has 2 back molars to come in, and all four wisdom teeth. In Central America, braces are as good a quality as in the states. However, they come at about a fourth of the price tag. About $600.00 from start to finish! Incredible! So - we will get some braces on her once all her baby teeth have come out. The nice thing about her teeth coming out so late is it has given her mouth time to grow. So, although she will need braces, the duration should be much shorter.

Moving - yes, I'm sure you are tired of hearing us talk about moving, but it's almost the only thing on our minds right now. It's Monday, and we leave Wednesday in the wee hours of the a.m. Specifically, we have to be out of our place by 4:00 in the morning, and to the airport by 4:30. Our plane leaves at 6:30, and we have 16 bags to get checked in. So we are excited and anxious about finally getting this thing on the road. We will be so incredibly busy the first 2 months with finding a home, furnishing it, then planning for a 2-week medical team that is coming. So please pray for us in the upcoming months!

Friday, June 20, 2008

No more more more teachers dirty looks!

Today we celebrated the end of Madison's first year of non-homeschooling in almost 5 years. The school was a good experience, very different. Madison's least favorite subject has always been Math. So, in celebration of the end of 6th grade math, she asked if she could burn her book. It's not a text book, it's a "consumable" math book. If you are a teacher, the following photos may be "graphic" for you - so look away :-)
The beginning of the end:
Madison enjoying the "demise" of her book
near the end...
Madison victorious!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Final Days

Six more days until we leave for Honduras. One more day of school for Madison. End of tutoring for both of us. Two more "farewell" get-togethers. Three more bags to pack. Hair cut before we leave. Four more blogs to write. Not much left.

Please pray for us as we finish up our final week in Costa Rica, and we prepare to head to Honduras. Our first month there is going to be a whirlwind! We have to find a house. Buy furniture for the entire place, plan a medical team, Madison takes her placement test at her new school, and start acustomizing to our new environment. Our Spanish will be put to the test, and we will be sweating like crazy. So, we covet your prayers for all of the above mentioned things.

Madison had two final exams yesterday, two today, and we just found out - she has no final on Friday. She has done extremely well this reporting period - her best yet. We send praises to God for that, as He watches out for even the little things. What an awesome God we serve.

We have no idea what the internet situation will be once we hit the ground, so you can be praying for that as well. The Internet helps us feel like we are still in touch with friends and family. It allows you to be part of our team by reading our blogs and praying for specific things. So we also pray that internet will be easily accessable.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Movie Review

Okay - this is a first for me, but one that I just felt needed to be said. WARNING - contains spoilers!!!

Two movies:

The Happening (El Fin de los tiempos) is how it was translated into Spanish - the End of Times (found that an interesting choice).
M. Night. One of my movie heroes. An incredibly talented individual! Young, idealistic. He writes, produces and directs all of his movies. Incredible! From The Sixth Sense to Lady in the Water - I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed them all. This, I thought, could be no exception. However, it was. The choices of actors, Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel - a bit strange, but okay, I could go with it. However, their acting skills were much to be desired. It didn't help that the story line was retarded. The potential was there, but the follow-through was horrid! I am one who enjoys suspending my belief during movies - I don't mind aliens, thoroughly enjoy "ray guns" - any flying creature with wings catches my eye. It almost all works for me. This - never did. I kept waiting for the "bad guy", and honestly, I couldn't believe it when I find out what the nemesis is. Seriously, I thought. Can it be so?! NO! But sadly, it was. If you've not seen it - stop here and read no further (although with these kind of reviews I don't know how you would still waste $9.00 to go see it. I felt that my $3.00 (in Costa Rica) was a HUGE overpayment for this movie. The planet was striking back! The trees talking to the shrubs, talking to the grass, all communicating to conspire against the evil white man. Couldn't even get into it. We even managed to wait through all the credits to see if somehow, it would redeem itself with a 30 second clip at the end. But alas, nothing appeared. When the lights came on, we independently looked at each other (there were 4 of us), and unprompted, said some form of "that's stupid", that's "retarded", "waste of time", and many other colorful one-liners. Don't waste those two hours of your life. Stare at the ceiling instead, you may actually be inspired by the specks on the ceiling more than you would be by this movie. Disaster!

The Hulk:

Many of you may not know this about me. I started collecting comics from the age of 8 years old. I saved my allowance, and every week my brother and I would treck down to the local comic book store and buy as many 25 cent comics as we could. They quickly went up to 35 cents, but you could still get a lot for $1.50 a week! Cool! I collected comics all the way through my college life. Needless to say, I accumulated thousands of comic books! Well...when my daughter came along, I thought there certainly was much better ways to spend my money, so my comic collecting days were over. However, I had collected well over 4,000 comics at that point. Slowely over the next few years we sold most of the collection on e-bay. Let me just say that my husband didn't have to pay for any of his Harley chopper with any family money. I'll just say that one comic I sold for $700.00 (first appearance of Wolverine), and $400.00 for an X-Man comic, and that's just a few examples of the beauties I had in my collection. I say all that because I'm one of those irritating, annoying geeks when it comes to comic movies. I love them or hate them. There is NO middle ground. If it's so outside of the realm of the "real" comic hero, as per the comic book, it's not even worth it to me. The first Hulk? Are you kidding me? The original Batman movies? Vomit! This Hulk! Incredible! Worth it from the credits in the beginning of the movie! A MUST see! A bit violent for the little guys out there, but definitely a winner for kids Madison's age and up! I have no complaints! No whining, no pouting, nothing but praises everywhere! And yes, Stan Lee has his cameo in this movie (if you don't know who he is - let me know). But if you know who he is, then I call you a true comic book fan, and am proud of you. Would you also know that Stan Lee makes a cameo in all the Marvel movies? He's like M. Night who does the same (just the voice this time in the above movie-that-shall-not-be-mentioned). Anyway - if you want to talk comics, let me know. As I said, I'm a geek for that kind of things. You should hear the conversations Madison and I have about comics :-) It's pretty darn funny. So mom, how did Storm get her powers, and what's the coolest thing about her? If you were a comic hero, who would you be, or what would your powers be? etc. etc. Good to know that your kid and you have things in common :-). Enjoy The Hulk! (El Hombre Increible). By the way - you know who else makes a cameo? Lou Ferrigno (hope you know who that is :-) If not, let me know.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Birthday Pics

Madison and her buddies John and Jessica

Madison with her "goodies"

Madison had a great day on Saturday with her two friends from school, Jessica and John. John is in her class and Jessica is John's sister. Madison and Jessica were in gymnastics together. They came for a good ol' eggs, bacon, OJ, pancake brunch, then hung out for a couple of hours. Afterwards we all went to the mall had REAL ice cream (my first time since I've been in Costa Rica). The mall just opened a Haagen Dazs ice cream store - PRICEY, but WELL worth it. Then we went and saw Indy! Afterwards it was back to our place for ice cream and not cake - but pumpkin pie! Yes ladies and gentlemen, I asked Madison what desert she wanted for her birthday - and she picked her FAVORITE of all - pumpkin pie. So - that's what she got. And no, those aren't "regular" candles - we had to use tea-light candles :-) Hey - we are missionaries - we have learned to be VERY creative! Madison got some new drawing books, and has already been quite creative! All in all, a GREAT way to spend her day!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The two dads in my life

Above is a great picture. It represents the incredible men in my life. My dad (the cute short bald man on the right) and my husband (the cute short bald man on the left).

My dad was one of those kind of guys growing up that I both feared and respected. He was one of those men who was quiet most of the time, and when he wasn't, watch out!!! My wake-up call every morning growing up in our first home was through an intercom system that ran throughout the house and it went like this...Z..Z...ZZZ (that's me), quiet, serene, asleep. Then..."GET UP AND AT 'EM!!!" Which lead to a startling awakening, but let me tell you - there was no hitting of THAT snooze button! And one of my favorite night time rememberances, still holds true to today. If I am visiting home, and sleep there - it's ALWAYS - "Good night...I love you...sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite..." The memories are wonderful - camping under the stars listening to my dad play his harmonica by the camp fire, or a wonderful reciting of The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service - he had/has this ENTIRE poem memorized - check it out if you have the chance. We also played Spoonerithums (too long to explain) and sang songs in the car on our long trips going places. Yes, the goodies - There's a Hole in the Bucket, and Roll me Over in the Clover - I will not provide you with those words, but suffice it to say my dad changed MANY of the lines, and it wasn't until I was an adult - and in the Army of all things - that I learned the true meaning of this song...too funny! My dad has been an inspiration, motivation to do well, a solid rock in my life, a man who loves my mother with all his heart, loves ME with all of his heart, and an all around good-guy! He's a GREAT man, and my life has been better because of him. Love you dad!

My husband is my friend, the father of my child, an honest, Christian, beautiful man. My life has also been the better because of him. He loves me with all his heart, and our beautiful child with all of his heart. It's been an honor and a blessing to have him by my side for 18 years. Love you husband!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Madison!

June 14, 1996

One Year Old

Four Years Old

Six Years Old

Ten Years Old

Tomorrow, Flag Day, is Madison's 12th birthday. What is Flag Day, you may ask? In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

I've thought and thought about what to write, how to be creative, what to say. What does a mother say to her only child who is perfect, yet fallible, beautiful, tall, so courageous, generous to a fault, gifted. One who can do things I’ve never thought of, aspires to do things I’ve only dreamed of. She is her own person, comfortable within herself. She often aspires to help out those in need, and rarely thinks of herself first. I have “caught” her in random acts of kindness and she thinks nothing of it. Her generous manner has often caused her grief when others have been unkind to her, and she doesn’t understand why.

When I was pregnant, I made a “Time capsule” for her. Included in it is the newspaper from the day she was born, video tapes, major magazines, etc. Also included in it are letters from her family. I sent many family members a blank piece of paper and asked them to write a letter to the future grown-up Madison. In there I wrote to this future adult child of mine, wishing all the happiness a mother could pass on, all the dreams and aspirations that I wished one day would be hers. I look forward to the day that she opens it and reads what her family thought of her when she was barely a part of this world.
I often wonder what she will be “when she grows up”. She has been through the gambit, like many of us – veterinarian, artist, author, scientist, marine biologist, astronaut, nurse. Only time will tell.

All in all, to me, the perfect kid. I love her with all my heart, and honestly couldn’t imagine a life without her. I LOVED homeschooling her for 4 years, and anxiously look forward to doing so again.

So here’s to you my brave girl! I love you with all my heart! Happy Birthday!

Twelve Years Old tomorrow!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Athlete banquet

Coach G

Madison enjoying the grub

The track team

On Wednesday, Madison attended a banquet for all the athletes at Soujourn - the school where she attends. There is a teacher there who is the coach for ALL the sports. Now, there aren't really other schools that have sports like these, so the kids often times compete against themselves, or against other students at the school, or even with the adults. Although it's not the perfect scenario, it's still an incredible opportunity for all the kids to be involved in a sport, understand group dynamics, work as a team, etc. The teacher - Ms. Gaumer, coaches basketball, track, and cheerleading. This was a potluck event to commemorate all the kids.

I'm feeling much better today. My head is still incedibly congested, have a good headache still going, but not achey, no fever, and not lethargic like yesterday! Praises to God that this was harsh, but quick!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Yes, I got the flu shot (heck, I gave it to myself), but clearly it's as effective here as it was in the states this year - NOT!. Fever - 102.3. Entire body aches. Chills. Headache. Exhausted, but can't sleep. My nose running like it's trying to win a marathon! Stinks! Don't have time to be sick. Pray for me, pray for Madison. She started getting sever sniffles yesterday, pray that it's not the same flu bug as me, and just a cold!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another First / Mystery Tree revealed

I thought I was done (for now) with “firsts”. I knew once I got to Honduras many new “firsts” were going to come. You can see some here and especially here. However, two days ago I had my facebook account up (see and up popped a note from my first trimester teacher, and currently Mike’s tutor, Ale. She had a question for me. And as the next 15 minutes progressed, our conversation via facebook was all in Spanish!! I was actually THRILLED once it was done, and I could look back and reflect on it – and yes indeed – I was “chatting” in Spanish! It was too cool! Good to know that our supporters hard worked for money, and our intense, often frustrating classes are all actually having a positive effect! Many thanks to EVERYONE for this opportunity, and truly a blessing, to attempt to learn/speak Spanish!

As for the Mystery Tree , it's a Ficus. I just couldn't believe when I saw this 50+ foot tree that it could possibly be the same tree that people have in pots in their houses. I remember my ficus tree being so particular and "fragile", that I struggled with it for a number of years. Here they grow so beautifully and can be seen EVERYWHERE! So, kudos to Sue Burch for correctly identifying the tree, and 500 colones will be on the way to Puerto Rico for a job well done!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Starting to Pack

2 of 16

The time has start packing that is. With just over two weeks we have slowly started to pack up our belongings. We are hoping to actually make it out of here with less than we arrived. We had some items (kids gift bags) that we gave out during a mission trip here, so those won't be here. The only items we have purchased while here has been some clothes. However, with Madison growing like she is, there will be many clothes that she has grown out of - so into the "recycle bin" they will go. The picture is entitled "2 of 16" because that's what we arrived with, 16 bags in total. Over the last 3 years to have gone from a 2-story house, to a 900-square foot apartment in Elk Grove, to our now 500-square foot apartment, we've learned to pack light, and only the bare necessities! I do look forward to the time where we don't have to eat out of plastic bowls, because we don't want to buy things that we have to leave behind. As for packing, we are actually looking forward to this process as it means we are one step closer to Honduras! I will share in this process as we go.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Come Take a Run With Me

For about 6 months now I've been trying to exercise. Started with walking, and now I'm running. I say trying, because some weeks are more successful than others. But, I feel good about myself, and feel good about getting out 3 to 4 times a week :-) Here is my path, come join me for my run.

This is the entrance path to the park

There is this beautiful lone hill that kids slide down on cardboard boxes. Mike uses this hill for "hill charges" - I just look at it as I pass by :-)

Unfortunately, there is a lot of drug dealing at this park, so it is monitored by police most of the time

The "Golden Gate Bridge"

This bridge connects two parts of La Paz park. I run over the bridge to the other side and continue on my way...

These incredible huge trees are in the middle of the park

There are numerous lakes at the park

Here is a beautiful tree. If you can guess what type of tree this is (place your answers in the Comments section) I will send you 500 colones from Costa Rica! Seriously, I will! I couldn't believe that this tree was what I thought it was, so I asked a number of Ticos if it really was the type of tree I thought it was, and they all confirmed it was. I'll let you know the answer in a few days. But in the mean time, take a guess and let me know.

Finally, I end my treck around this final path, and run the path from the beginning again. All in all, it's about a 3 mile run...enough for me! No marathoner am I, but with my IPOD and my running shoes, I enjoy the trip! Thanks for coming along with me on my run!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Our Engagement Picture:

Today Mike and I celebrate our 16 year anniversary. I know it's not a "silver" or "gold" anniversary, but it is still a date that we rejoice in! 18 years ago Mike and I met after my return from 3 years active duty Army service in Germany. I moved to Sacramento to go to school and met Mike while in school. Two years later we married, with our dance song: Everything I do I do For You by Bryan Adams.

Look into my eyes - you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart - search your soul
And when you find me there you'll search no more
Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for

You know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you

Look into your heart - you will find
There's nothin' there to hide
Take me as I am - take my life
I would give it all - I would sacrifice
Don't tell me it's not worth fightin' for
I can't help it - there's nothin' I want more
Ya know it's true Everything I do - I do it for you

There's no love - like your love
And no other - could give more love
There's nowhere - unless you're there
All the time - all the way

I would fight for you - I'd lie for you
Walk the wire for you - ya I'd die for you
Ya know it's true Everything I do - I do it for you

Four years later we had Madison. We changed some over the years, but we have only grown stronger with the Lord and stayed firm as a family.

Ultimately our paths have led us on the road to missions. So here we sit, on our 16 year anniversary in Costa Rica, preparing ourselves for the rest of our lives to be doing God's work abroad, to the people of Latin America. It's been a long path for us. We came with very different backgrounds, but many things in common. We were/are both independent, read completely different books, have different "favorites", and listen to very different music. However, the things in life that matter, we meet eye-to-eye. God, our church, Madison, missions, our family. I couldn't imagine my life with a different man to be my husband, the father to my child, my constant companion, and the love of my life. It's cool to know that we will die little old people with our best friend by our side :-)

This is for you honey - I would fight for you - I'd lie for you, walk the wire for you - ya I'd die for you...ya know it's true, everything I do - I do it for you. Happy Anniversary Husband!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


To try and recognize the Spanish I have learned over the last 10 months or so, I am dedicating this blog to the Spanish language. If you are unable to read it, you can copy it and put it into this free on-line translator , it does a pretty good job. It's not perfect, of course, but will give you a good general idea of what it says. You have to put in a paragraph at a time. Enjoy. And, for those native Spanish speakers, or those who are fluent, I apologize ahead of time - think of a 3 year old speaking Spanish :-) I am open for constructive criticism :-)

Cuando yo tenía 37 años, mi esposo regresó de un viaje de Belize. Me llevó a una cita en un restaurante favorito. En aquel lugar él me preguntó si yo quería ser una misionera. Yo le dije ¡por su puesto! Tres años mas tarde y nosotros con nuestra hija, llegamos a Costa Rica para aprender español. Por dos trimestres aprendimos como hablar correctamente, aprendimos sobre la cultura de latinoamerica y gramática española. Nosotros llegamos a Costa Rica sin saber español y vamos a terminar sabiendo mucho español a bajo nosotros faja. La realidad es que nosotros siempre necesitamos aprender español y nunca terminar. Pero, ahora es el tiempo para ir a Honduras.

Cuando lleguemos a Honduras, la primera cosa que nosotros necesitamos hacer es encontrar una casa para vivir. Queremos empezar una clínica donde el pobre pueda recibir medicina gratis. También, queremos empezar una iglesia y ayudar a hombres y mujeres a ser líderes en la iglesia.

Mientras, mi hija va a asistir a un colegio. Éste es bilingüe y hay muchos estudiantes. Hay muchas oportunidades en la escuela. Por ejemplo, un teatro, música, y clases de arte, etc.

Yo sé que habrá muchas cosas difíciles, pero sabemos que todas las cosas están en los manos de Dios. Dios nunca dijo que la vida sería fácil, pero Dios nos dijo que "Nunca te dejáré jamas te abondanaré" Hebreos 13:5. Entonces, oramos cada día para que el espiritu santo prepare la tierra para nosotros.